Andy McAfee

Non-Technologists Agree: It’s the Technology

Andy McAfee

It was published last year in the American Economic Review and called “ The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market ,” which is an admirably informative title. Two papers came out last year that examined important issues around jobs and wages.

Technology Spending Is On Its Way Down. Or It Isn’t. Or It Doesn’t Matter.

Andy McAfee

Information processing equipment is simply a vehicle for software, in much the same way that a bottle of 5-hour energy is a delivery system for caffeine.

Trending Sources

If There Was Already an Ocean of Data in 2007, How Much is there Now?

Andy McAfee

The first is from the 2011 Science paper “The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information” by Martin Hilbert and Priscila López; 2007 is the last year considered in this research.

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Technology’s Real Benefits (Hint: They’re Not Economic)

Andy McAfee

Productivity growth took off in the mid 1990s, and research (led, I’m proud to say, by my colleague and coauthor Erik Brynjolfsson ) showed conclusively that this was due mostly to information technology.

Pirates Play Databall, Purge Postseason Drought

Andy McAfee

You have to get involved in the information. The Pittsburgh Pirates are in baseball’s playoffs for the first time since 1992.

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Google+ and the Unsettled World of Social Media

Andy McAfee

I don’t have nearly enough information and insight yet to know how big a deal it will be, or if it will will finally help Google break into social media in a big way. Like apparently all other tech geeks, I’ve been playing with Google Plus for the past week.

The One Big Story, and the Next One

Andy McAfee

Ian Morris came up with this numeric measure of social development; it consists of energy capture, urbanism (a proxy for organizational capacity), information processing, and warmaking capacity. What have been the biggest stories since human civilization began?

Recent Trends in Labor Intensity. Or, the History (and Future?) of Steady Work in the US

Andy McAfee

My guess is that this is because computers, databases, and networks have taken over the traditional management function of gathering, summarizing, and transmitting information up the org chart.

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The Shrinking Lump of Labor

Andy McAfee

And because of similarly impressive advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, crowdsourcing, and exploitation of Big Data, the same will in the near future be true of industries that deal with virtual products like knowledge, information, media, decisions, and communication.

Putting Enterprise 2.0 into Context

Andy McAfee

But most informal collaboration, I bet, happens ‘close to’ the formal work of the enterprise. So the digital environments that support the formal and informal work should also be very close to each other, either within the same application or across tightly integrated ones. Data and decisions (“OK, go ahead and increase the customer’s credit limit so we can ship the order&# ) should be able to flow easily between the systems for formal and informal work.

The Cloud Warning

Andy McAfee

The companies there, in other words, will go from having very little information technology (as is the case now) directly to embracing Cloud computing without ever going through the intermediary steps of mainframe-, mini-, client-server-, or PC-based computing. I read recently that Rajan Anandan , Google’s managing director for India, says that his country will be a ‘Cloud-first’ market for computing.

Head-to-Head at TED

Andy McAfee

It was great geek fun – informative, enlightening, and entertaining all at once. My colleague, coauthor , and friend Erik “The Iceland Cometh” Brynjolfsson went up against Bob “Flash” Gordon onstage at TED earlier this year.

Anybody Know a Good Community Manager?

Andy McAfee

REQUIREMENTS: Bachelor’s degree required; familiarity and facility with HTML and Jive Platform; experience in building dynamic digital communities – from content development to user acquisition; must be excellent writer and editor of content; knowledge of, and deep interest in, the digitization of business and growth of information technologies; tireless, self-motivated worker who can manage, motivate, and work with faculty and students; experience with social media preferred.

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Everything You Need to Know About Social Business and Enterprise 2.0 in Three Short Reports

Andy McAfee

Throughout the second half of 2011, I worked with AIIM (the professional organization for information management and collaboration pros) on a task force to understand the state of Enterprise 2.0 / social business / call-it-what-you-will. These two functions need to work closely together, yet often don’t share information or keep each other in the loop. That headline is, of course, a pathetic lie. But the reports are still quite good.

Living Intelligence

Andy McAfee

at the IC consisted largely of building a digital water cooler where informal conversations could happen throughout the community. I first met Chris Rasmussen when I was invited to Washington to research the Enterprise 2.0

What Makes a Company Good at IT?

Andy McAfee

So I wanted to post a bit more information about this research here, and also include a few graphs illustrating what I think is an important and interesting element of our work (if you want the most complete description available, a paper written for academic audiences is available here ).

SpyTunes

Andy McAfee

The application presents this information to Smiley in red ink, before he has to sign in to his account, present credit card information, or take any other steps: iTunes tells Smiley about one of the songs in my library.

Why Is Customer Service Still So Lousy? Monopolist (i.e. Comcast) Edition

Andy McAfee

Every so often I have an experience as a consumer so bad that I have to write about it.

Will Capitalism and Democracy Soon Be Passé?

Andy McAfee

I spent the better part of the day yesterday at Singularity University , teaching and talking with the students after a kind invitation from Brad Templeton. Our session went for two and a half lively hours, which astonished me.

Using Computers to Cure Medicine’s Pathologies

Andy McAfee

As the editors of Science write in their introduction to the paper, “The C-Path score yielded information above and beyond that from many other measures of cancer severity including pathology grade, estrogen receptor status, tumor size, and lymph node status.”

Upcoming Geek Fun: Alone Together and the Implications of IBM’s Watson

Andy McAfee

A lot of us have heard talk of this book and Turkle’s thesis that, as she puts it , “I think when we’re texting, on the phone, doing your e-mail, getting information, the experience is of being filled up. I wanted to let everyone know about two upcoming events of great geek interest. The first is a panel I’m moderating at this Saturday’s Boston Book Festival.

When Using Your Smartphone Can Be the Best Thing for Your Mental Health

Andy McAfee

With informed consent and in accordance with privacy rules, PRIORI collects the patients’ sides of their smartphone calls, then analyzes these sound files using machine learning techniques to figure out which characteristics of speech are most strongly related to the onset of a manic episode.

Enterprise 2.0 the Indian Way

Andy McAfee

A more optimistic way to say the same thing is that at such a firm, improving employees’ ability to find the expertise and information they need to do their jobs better would bring large benefits. This adds structure over time to the mass of information, and also gives people incentive to participate and be helpful to their colleagues. If the US Intelligence community thinks the benefits of more information sharing outweigh the risks, so should most other organizations.

Dr. Watson, Please Report to the Health Care System

Andy McAfee

For example, Watson might recognize that the kidney failure in our patient is linked to kidney failure in a patient in Buffalo and another in San Antonio; all three patients, he might inform me, were taking a “natural” weight loss supplement that contained a Chinese herb, aristolochia, that has been associated with more than 100 cases of kidney failure. I can also easily imagine Dr. Watson asking for more information: “Andy, have you traveled abroad in the past month?

Customer Service in the Digital Age: The Eternal Lament

Andy McAfee

The first one I opened informed me that my application to auto-pay my bills (an application that was also received and submitted via snail mail) had been refused because I hadn’t included a voided check. I wrote a couple weeks ago HBR.org that lots of big financial services companies are alienating their customers because their interactions with them are so lousy.

Don’t Just Read Freakonomics. DO Freakonomics!

Andy McAfee

If so, you could join the military, or apply to the MIT Sloan PhD program in information technology. Some basic information is here , and a FAQ is here. Do your new year’s resolutions include changing direction in your career? Acquiring incredibly valuable new skills?

FAQ 25

The Second Machine Age Comes to New York this Friday

Andy McAfee

Sinan Aral , PhD ’07, David Austin Professor of Management, Associate Professor of Information Technology and Marketing, MIT Sloan School of Management. Just a quick note to let New Yorkers know that the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy is coming to your city this Friday, April 4.

I Know It When I See It

Andy McAfee

I think there is a feeling of a power shift or improved flow of information. I have found the strongest resistence often comes from organizational bosses who fear they will lose control of information. Issues like: lack of trust, loss of control of information, liability, etc.

Bring Out Your Data

Andy McAfee

This year I’m working with the Association for Information and Image Management ( AIIM ) to understand the state of Enterprise 2.0. AIIM started in 1943 as the National Microfilm Association, and has for a long time been the place to go for records and content management issues. President John Mancini and his team are certainly aware that times are changing quickly in this area, as are the vendors and customers that make up AIIM’s membership.

Sorry, What Investment Shortfall?

Andy McAfee

Here’s total investment in ‘information processing equipment and software: ’ Corporate spending on digital stuff peaked in the late 1990s thanks to the twin fiascos of the dot-com bubble and the Y2K ‘crisis’ and has backed off some since then.

Lessons from a Very Mobile Industry

Andy McAfee

I have the good fortune to be back at the Aspen Institute this week, this time for the 21st annual Information Technology Roundtable. It’s a small gathering of people brought together by the Institute and Charlie Firestone to talk about the digital world’s big topics.

Where the Silicon Meets the Road

Andy McAfee

The bakery truck driver is processing a constant stream of [visual, aural, and tactile] information from his environment… to program this behavior we could begin with a video camera and other sensors to capture the sensory input. They use the staggering amounts of data collected for Google Maps and Street View to provide as much information as possible about the roads they were traveling (in other words, to provide as much structure as possible to the situation).

Is craigslist or eHarmony the Right Model for Enterprise 2.0?

Andy McAfee

and to specify a geographic area, but makes no further attempt to specify or standardize the information posted. Leave aside for the moment the fact that eHarmony automates the work of connecting people, and concentrate only on the fact that it requires them to supply a large amount of structured information. Explicit information provided in corporate profiles/directories is not updated frequently enough (unless made mandatory, which I'm guessing is pretty rare).

Why Is Customer Service Still So Lousy (Financial Services Web Design Edition)?

Andy McAfee

Instead, it took me to a form I’d use to enter bank account information from scratch. This didn’t seem right, but I couldn’t see what else I could do to get to my autopay information.

Why Is Customer Service Still So Lousy (Financial Services Web Design Edition)?

Andy McAfee

Instead, it took me to a form I’d use to enter bank account information from scratch. This didn’t seem right, but I couldn’t see what else I could do to get to my autopay information.

Technology Spending Is On Its Way Down. Or It Isn’t. Or It Doesn’t Matter.

Andy McAfee

Information processing equipment is simply a vehicle for software, in much the same way that a bottle of 5-hour energy is a delivery system for caffeine.

When Using Your Smartphone Can Be the Best Thing for Your Mental Health

Andy McAfee

With informed consent and in accordance with privacy rules, PRIORI collects the patients’ sides of their smartphone calls, then analyzes these sound files using machine learning techniques to figure out which characteristics of speech are most strongly related to the onset of a manic episode.

The Second Machine Age Comes to DC This Week

Andy McAfee

If you’re nearby please do come; I can promise you an informative, informed, and lively discussion. Just a quick note to let Washingtonians know about two happenings in their city this week.

Clarity about the Singularity

Andy McAfee

They were unfailingly polite even when they were challenging me — which, bless them, they were not reluctant to do — and were uniformly super smart, well-informed, and well-intentioned. I think a couple clarifications about my previous post about my time at Singularity University are in order. First off, I had a fantastic experience there.

Bravo, Amazon, for Kicking Out WikiLeaks

Andy McAfee

When I first heard about the site, I thought its mission sounded useful: to help surface information that exposes corruption, coverups, and rank hypocrisy in high places, and to allow people to electronically drop off such information privately. And capitals have long been asking their diplomats to gather and pass on information. Instead, we’ll get embarrassed and angry allies, fewer frank conversations, and less reliable information about the state of the world.